Australia Migration, Immigration Australia, Migrating to Australia
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Communication & Labour

AAPTAAPT Limited is Australia's third largest telecommunications company.

Australia maintains contact with the rest of the world by such means as satellite, submarine telegraph cable, radio-telephone, and phototelegraph services. After 1975 the Australian Telecommunications Commission, later called Telecom Australia, was responsible for telecommunications services within Australia. In 1992, Telecom Australia merged with the Overseas Telecommunications Commission Australia (OTC), which had been responsible for services to other countries since 1946, to form AOTC and their monopoly on telecommunications services was ended. An Australian, American, and British consortium, Optus ommunications became the new national telecommunications carrier. The market is to be opened to full competition in 1997. The Australia Post manages the postal services. In the early 1990s more than 8 million telephones were in operation. 

Government and commercial radio and television systems operate concurrently. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is a statutory authority operating more than 400 radio stations on different frequencies. Commercial stations number about 200; unlike the national stations, these carry advertising. Television programmes are transmitted within range of 99 per cent of the population by the ABC’s national television network and by some 43 commercial stations. In the early 1990s there were estimated to be some 29 million radios and more than 9 million television sets in use. Australia has about 500 newspapers, some 60 of which are dailies with a combined daily circulation of about 4.7 million. There is one national daily, The Australian. Large-circulation metropolitan dailies include the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age and Herald-Sun News Pictorial (both published in Melbourne), the Courier-Mail (Brisbane), the Advertiser (Adelaide), and the West Australian (Perth). 

Australia shares with New Zealand the arbitration system, an attempt to fix wages and working conditions by law. The constitution allows the federal government to intervene to conciliate and arbitrate in industrial disputes. Federal power is confined to disputes extending beyond the limits of any one state. Compulsory arbitration has also been established at state level for internal disputes. Conciliation and arbitration is carried out by the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, its courts and conciliation commissioners. Where conciliation fails, the courts have the power to make awards binding on employer and employee. Failure to abide by the court’s ruling can result in a fine. In practice, the judges of the Commission fix the minimum wages and working conditions of most workers. In 1991, the Commission decided to allow direct employer-employee wage bargaining, provided resulting agreements are endorsed by the commission. 

Trade unions have a long tradition in Australia, and the movement, with more than 3 million members in some 220 unions, is strongly organized at local, state, and federal levels, and is an economic and political power. In the early 1990s about 43 per cent of wage and salary earners were unionized. Workers receive unemployment and sickness benefits, compensation for job-incurred injuries, basic wages and marginal awards, and general social and health benefits. A basic or minimum wage was established by law in 1907. Between 1921 and 1953 the basic wage was automatically adjusted to quarterly rises and falls in the cost of living. The Commonwealth terminated this automatic adjustment in September 1953, but several states later reintroduced the procedure. Federal legislation in 1992 freed the wage for employers to negotiate enterprise-based awards and agreements. In the mid-1990s about 7.9 million people were employed in Australia, and the unemployment rate was approximately 8 per cent.



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